Another female rhino was found dead in the Sishamari forest beat in the Jaldapara National Park in Alipurduar today, taking the death toll of the wild animals to five. The first one died on Sunday, foresters have said. The state forest department is worried about the deaths of the one-horn rhino in the national park, and has alerted all forests in the region. The serial deaths of the rhino have also fuelled speculations that Anthrax, an infectious bacterial infection, could be the culprit.
Forest officials have, however, not confirmed such a thing so far. Forest sources, however, said that one of the dead rhinos had Anthrax symptoms, and that two other rhinos are still ill in the national park. “Only female rhinos are dying, something we are experiencing for the first time in the national park’s history. We are trying to find out the reason behind the deaths. I have personally informed experts at the Wildlife Institute of India of the matter. The test reports of blood and tissue samples of the dead rhinos are yet to arrive,” said the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) of the state, Rabi Kant Sinha.
The state forest department has, meanwhile, alerted all the forest authorities in north Bengal, following the death of the animals, it is learnt. “As of now, we are not sure as to why the rhinos died. We are trying to use vaccines among the wild animals in the Sishamara and Malangi forest beat areas in the Jaldapara National Park where the deaths have happened,” said state forest minister Rajib Banerjee. Anthrax had infected and killed animals in Jaldapara back in 1994, forest sources said.